• Lifestyle,  Winter,  Yearly Recap

    The Books of 2020

    A big year for reading it was! I set my reading goal intentionally low at twenty books, but in the end I managed thirty-one! Perhaps this was because I still wasn’t sure if I would undertake any kind of formal studies and wanted to emphasize quality over quantity, and although I greatly surpassed it, I don’t really think the pandemic was the culprit. This was the first year that I really, actively considered reading books a hobby. Before it was just something I did, I guess, but now it’s gone full-out obsession, I’m either sorry or delighted to say. Ironically, I feel like I spend more time thinking about what…

  • Czech Republic,  Daily Life,  Winter,  Yearly Recap

    Year of Life & Travels: 2020

    We made it! And yes, even 2020 is going to get a recap post! I love these sorts of posts and catching up with what people were up to this year, so here we are. They’re also really wonderful to look back on and see the year as a whole. I know a lot of people choose a word of the year before the year even gets going, but as I do my year-end reflections on the last few days remaining, the word to define the year that was always comes to me. This year would be adapt, of course. And now, a run-down of the year that was… Ah,…

  • Christmas,  Daily Life,  South Bohemia,  Winter

    A Time of Simple Holidays

    Well, it’s hard to write anything without a computer, isn’t it? Fortunately I feel like I have an office again, a little home again, and my brain can sort of organize itself properly. (Note: Try to avoid ever having to purchase a new computer in mid-December. It is not the time.) Here we are in December, finally at the tail end of 2020. Funny about this year. As I’ve now been quite settled in České Budějovice for nearly eight years and counting, there isn’t a lot of expat stuff or cultural differences that I feel compelled to write about. Most of it is no longer so novel. Add to that…

  • Christmas,  Daily Life,  Thoughts,  Winter

    Grieving/Healing

    Perhaps it’s yesterday’s full moon bringing all of these ripe feelings to the surface, but the turn towards Advent time hasn’t been an easy one this year – an odd, uncomfortable feeling towards something that has always felt warm, comforting and joyful. I am still grieving and feeling so many heavy things, mostly a bit different of what I choose to show on the outside, but today, the first of December, I can feel the healing begin. I woke up and tiptoed to the kitchen where I saw a marvelous pink and purple sunrise, welcoming in this new month. As I went out with the dog, the sky was doing…

  • Autumn,  Budějovice,  czech culture,  Czech Republic,  Herbalism,  South Bohemia

    Autumn Lockdown Feels Like

    Do you think optimistic, positive people ever just… lose it after awhile? I consider myself one of those and was wondering when that breaking point would come. After holding it together so well since lockdown started in March, I’ve had more work than ever before (none of this Corona free time) and I guess last Sunday, in mid-late November it all sort of came to a head. It came to me today that of course our Christmas trip abroad would be cancelled this year – it would be folly to go through with it. I thought of all the sadness and destruction that 2020 has wrought. I wondered when I…

  • Autumn,  Recipe

    Sunday Baking: Pumpkin-Spiced Babka

    I’ve been pottering around the Internet so long that I’ve been cooking from recipes and cooking blogs that now have ceased to exist. (Does anyone remember Whole Living, circa 2010ish? Goodbye, all those recipes!) This moment is a bit of a tragedy when you really need that recipe that you’ve been using forever, but is suddenly unavailable. So (by request!), I wanted to share with you a fantastic seasonal baking recipe I’ve been baking from for the past couple of years. To be fair, this year’s Great British Bake Off reminded me about babkas during the annual Bread Week, but this one’s in a beautiful, festive wreath shape. If you…

  • Autumn,  Film

    The Spooky October Film Series, Pt VI

    It’s time for my annual spooky film list for Halloween! If you’re just tuning in, every October, Alex and I draft up five films that are not the typical Hocus Pocus (however beloved that movie is) – something we have not seen tens of times that still has the spooky Halloween vibes many of us are craving at this time of the year. Especially this year, there’s been a lot more time on your hands and far fewer events to go to, making this Halloween a perfect one to sink your teeth into a proper spooky, atmospheric movie. I hope you find a suggestion here for your watching pleasure that…

  • Autumn,  Czech Republic,  Daily Life,  Thoughts

    October, Lately

    This October – different from all other Octobers. The last of the warm early autumn weather has faded away and it definitely feels like fall now. I caught a bit of a nostalgia wave this week, as I am wont to do in the autumn. Eleven years ago I was visiting one of my best friends in Berlin for two weeks, having the time of my life. Ten years ago was another one of the best Octobers on record with epic festivals, parties, being one of maybe twenty-five people to see one of my favorite bands play Sunset Tavern in Ballard, Seattle. Eight years ago, living the Scottish life as…

  • Autumn,  Czech Republic,  Lifestyle

    Little Cottage in the Woods

    Even though the weather forecast for our early autumn cottage holiday weekend looked comically grim, there wasn’t a thought in my mind to cancel. We’d been hoping to go for an unplugged, off-the-grid weekend since late summer, but after returning from Croatia in August, we decided it would be much better appreciated if we waited until the long weekend at the end of September. Fortunately I packed for the cold — lots of woolly knits — and I’m so glad I did because it just did not stop raining. We arrived in the dark on Friday evening to pouring rain, which continued straight until early Sunday morning. When you stay…

  • Summer,  Thoughts,  Yearly Recap

    At Summer’s End

    Someone recently asked me “What did you do this summer?” and when I told them, they proceeded to sort of frown over my answer. Better put into a metaphor: This summer was like having a best friend come to visit for three months, but finding that you don’t get along as well as you always have, and when they leave, it’s sort of on a weird note and you don’t quite know how you feel about it, compared to their previous visits. Our holiday in Croatia in early-mid August was really the only concrete thing or the easiest to mention, but this summer was more full of small moments of…